Feathers and a Saint
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9
One of the cool traditions we have at St. Mary school happens on All Saints Day. At a special prayer service, each classroom gets to draw a secret package containing the name and picture of their classroom patron saint for the year. This year, our classroom patron was St. Phillip Neri. St. Phillip was known for his practical, funny, down to earth approach to living the Gospel. One book we read stated that if God’s saints were like a deck of cards, St. Phillip would be the joker. Since our classroom was a place where we laughed often and we laughed hard; it was a perfect fit! We learned a lot from the examples of his life and his discipleship. As I put away his picture and put my room to rest for the summer, I remembered one of my favorite St. Phillip Neri stories and it seems like the perfect day to share it.
One day a woman went to confession to St. Phillip and she confessed the sin of gossip. She was really quite sorrowful about the way she gave in to gossip and uncharitable conversations about others. As her penance, he asked her to go to the market and buy a chicken. As she returned home with it she was to pluck it as she walked and scatter the feathers as she strolled home. She was then to report back to him so he could tell her what to do next. She did as he instructed and returned to him the next day. He told her to go back along the same route and gather each feather she had tossed along the journey. She quickly explained the impossibility of the task pointing out that the feathers would be long scattered everywhere and gathering them all back up would be impossible. He nodded and pointed out that her unkind words had spread from mouth to mouth much like those feathers had been spread and it would be impossible to gather them back up. He prayed with her and urged her to go in peace but to remember the lesson and carefully and lovingly watch each word she uttered.
What a lesson…what an image! I suppose the first thing that grabbed me when I read the story were the words, SIN of gossip. I had to think for a minute about that. I know it’s rude, I know it’s not a good idea but sinful? That’s a little harsh isn’t it? Or is it? One of my goals for the summer is to do some praying and some thinking about all those “little” things I do; those bad habits that make me go, sheesh…that wasn’t good! I need to give them a good look and really pray about how those “little” things like gossip or judgmental thinking or teensy white lies are affecting my relationship with Jesus. The thing is, when you pray for something specific and you say the words “Show me Jesus; let me see with your eyes,” he does it…so I’d better be ready because he will shine a light on those places I’d rather not focus on. It might be a LONG summer folks…whose with me? Who wants to dive in to those “little” things and see what Jesus might want to replace them with when we look at them honestly and try to do a little repentance.
A Seed To Plant: Start the conversation…ask him in prayer to show you those little places where big change might draw us closer to him!
Blessings on your day!
6/16/2017 06:40:42 am
I am with you Sheri. Thank you for being bold enough to ask.
6/17/2017 08:01:55 pm
Very good Sheri! Great reminder, and a great story. Thanks!
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